The Constitution does not permit the federal government to do whatever it deems best. When the people of the sovereign states ratified our Constitution and thereby created the federal government, they delegated only a few enumerated powers to Congress. The 10th Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
The general government can do only those items authorized in the Constitution. What is Congress permitted to do?
Congress — The only branch that has authority to make laws:
To declare war;
To regulate commerce with foreign nations;
To establish uniform rules of naturalization;
After 1808, to prohibit importation of slaves;
After 1808, to restrict migration (immigration) to these United States;
To lay certain taxes;
To pay the debts of the United States;
To establish uniform laws on bankruptcies;
To coin money and regulate the value thereof;
To fix the standard of weights and measures;
To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting;
To establish post offices and post roads;
To issue patents and copyrights;
To create courts inferior to the supreme court;
An enumeration of the population for purposes of apportionment of representatives and direct taxes;
Elections of senators and representatives and their pay;
A restricted power to suspend writs of habeas corpus;
To revise and control imposts or duties on imports or exports which may be laid by states;
Implementation of the full faith and credit clause;
Procedures for Amendments to the Constitution;
To regulate commerce among the states, and with the Indian tribes;
A restricted power to declare the punishment of treason;
To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the laws of nations;
To make rules of warfare, to raise and support armies and a navy and to make rules governing the military forces; to call forth the militia for certain purposes, and to make rules governing the militia;
The 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 19th, 23rd, 24th and 26th Amendments delegated additional powers to Congress respecting certain civil rights and certain voting rights, the public debt [lawfully incurred], income tax, successions to vacated offices, dates of assembly, and appointment of representatives from the D.C.
These are the only areas where Congress can make laws. Any laws passed outside of these areas are unconstitutional.
Note: there is no authority delegated over guns, health care, schools, food, retirement plans or the environment.
Mike Foil and Publius Huldah